|How to file Bankruptcy without an attorney
You are a good candidate for Bankruptcy if you can't pay back most or all
of your unsecured debts in three to five years.
Many people ask, "can I file Bankruptcy without an attorney. The answer is absolutely. Should You file Bankruptcy and
if so, which chapter should you file. This can only be answered by you. I will say it is in most cases very easy to decide
which chapter you should file once you understand what the difference is between them. Filing Bankruptcy without an
attorney is called (Pro Se) Over half of the Bankruptcy's filled in the US do so on their own without the help of an
Very simply, filing Bankruptcy involves filling out files called schedules, making a list of all your creditors called a
creditor matrix, going to a meeting of creditors (aka 341 Meeting) which is scheduled 3-4 weeks later. This person at the
meeting of the creditors is not a judge but a trustee who is in charge of your case. Once everything is approved you will
receive your Bankruptcy discharge in about three months from the filing date. In most cases you will not even appear
before a judge.
The majority of people who file for bankruptcy opt for Chapter 7, which wipes out most unsecured debts. (Unsecured
debts are those that aren't linked to specific property, such as a car or a house. So your mortgage is a secured debt:
your credit card bills are unsecured.)
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can mean you have to give up some of your assets (property or cash) to pay your
creditors. In reality, most Chapter 7 filers aren't required to give up anything, either because they don't have any assets
or because the property they have is "exempt" or protected from creditors. In my state you are allowed up to $30,000 in
exemptions. This is the amount of money your personal items are worth today which is not the purchase price. You can
always go to Ebay and type your item in if your not sure of it's current price on today's market. The exemptions vary by
state, and normally include household furnishings, clothing, tools you need to work, retirement accounts, and some-or
all-of the equity in your home.
If you want to keep property that isn't exempt, you can still file for bankruptcy, but you typically must choose Chapter
13. Chapter 13 requires debtors to come up with a plan to repay all, or most , of their debts within five years. If they
successfully complete their plan, they're allowed to keep their property while having any remaining debts erased.
Unfortunately, most people fail to complete their Chapter 13 plans, and their cases are either dismissed, allowing
creditors to resume collection activities, or converted to Chapter 7's.
A bankruptcy filing can make sense if any of the following apply:
You can't pay back most or all of your unsecured debts in three to five years.
You don't have much equity in a home or vehicle or much other property to speak of.
You do have considerable equity in a home or vehicle or other valuables that wouldn't be exempt in bankruptcy-jewels:
family heirlooms: valuable artwork or collections: or stocks, bonds, and cash held outside a retirement plan-but you're
willing to agree to a Chapter 13 repayment plan rather than a Chapter 7 liquidation.
Bankruptcy might not make sense if any of these apply:
You could repay your debts within five years.
Most of your debts are the kind that can't be wiped out. Debts that typically can't be erased including student loans,
child support, and recent taes. You might still decide to file so you can free up more money for those debts, but the
disadvantages of filing might well overwhelm the advantages.
You defrauded your creditors by hiding assets, say, or lying about your income or debts on a credit application.
You recently ran up large debts buying luxuries, which can include vacations and entertainment. If you ran up the bills
and then lost your job, you might be able to file for bankruptcy on other debts, but the luxury debts might not be wiped
You want to file a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and received a discharge for a previous bankruptcy filing within the
past six years. (You can file for a Chapter 13 repayment plan bankruptcy at any time.)
You're reluctant to leave a coborrower solely responsible for a debt. A bankruptcy filing can wipe out your legal
obligation to repay a loan, but creditors can still go after the cosigner or joint borrower.
Making the decision to file isn't an easy one, and you'd be smart to get help form an expert if your case is complicated.
Get Into The Right Frame of Mind Next
You can really do this! This will take some time and you will need to do additional research online to
understand everything and to get answers to question you may have, but again you can do this.
Even if you go to an attorney, you will still have lots of papers to fill out. If you do file (Pro Se), the
courts and trustee realize that you are not an attorney and will give you additional understanding
and leeway in your case. The clerk, court, and trustee will help you in any way they can. They won't
bite and they are not out to hurt you. The trustee has two main functions. They will look at your
papers and check to see if there is any funds to pay the creditors and they will also look for fraud. If
you simply got behind in paying your bills, you should have nothing to worry about.
In this next part, I will walk you through the basic requirements for filing for a typical Chapter 7
bankruptcy which is the most popular chapter to file for. Keep in mind that some rules and
requirements are different according to state so you will need to do a little homework to check on a
few things such as your exemptions in your state. Most people who file Pro Se make it through
without any problems.
Here is some good news! In my state it only cost $335.00 to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. You
can also request paying this fee in installment payments of $84.00 a month for 4 months as well.
This varies from state to state so you will need to check on what you can do in your state. All you
really need is some time and patience and you will get through this. When all is said and done, your
debts will be wiped out and you will be debt free.
What you need to get started
The very first thing you will need to do to get started is to get in your car and head out to Wal-Mart
or your local office supply store. You will need to purchase a box of 100 file folders, One ream of
500 count copy paper, a portable storage box, a thick black marker, a notebook with paper, and a
printer with three in one scanner, printer and fax. If you don't have one, I recommend one of two
printers, the Epson WorkForce All-In-One 2630 Printer/Copier/Scanner/Fax Machine for $62.50 or the
Epson WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One Printer/Copier/Scanner/Fax Machinefor $99.99. You will also
need one extra black ink cartridge for the printer as well. All items mentioned above are sold at
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